Sinus Headaches

Sinus Headaches 

Sinus headaches are the type of headaches that feels like sinusitis (infection in the sinuses). The person may feel like pressure around the eyes, cheeks, or forehead. Perhaps the head throbs. 

However, many people who have headaches from sinusitis, including those who have received a diagnosis, actually experience migraines. 


Signs and symptoms of sinus headaches may include:SYMPTOMS CAUSES TREATMENT

  • Pain, pressure, and fullness in your cheeks, brow or forehead
  • Worsening pain if you bend forward or lie down
  • Stuffy nose
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in upper teeth
Sinusitis or migraine

Migraine and sinus headaches confuse the people because the signs and symptoms overlap. Both sinusitis and migraine headache pain gets worse when the affected person bends forward. Migraine can be accompanied by various nasal infection signs and symptoms.

Several studies have shown that approximately 90% of people who report for suspected sinus headaches are found to have migraines instead. 

Sinusitis is not associated with common features of migraines like nausea, vomiting, aggravated by noise or light. 

Sinus headaches occur after upper respiratory viral infection or cold that include thick, discolored nasal mucus, decreased sense of smell, and pain in one cheek or upper teeth. These headaches are because of sinus disease that lasts days or longer.


Sinus headaches are associated with either migraines or other forms of headaches.

Sinusitis is associated with pain and pressure in the face and sinuses. It causes nasal symptoms. These headaches are not caused by sinus infections and should not be treated with antibiotics. 


Most people who assume they have sinusitis have migraines or tension-type headaches. Chronic or recurrent headaches may be treated with prescribed medicines that are either taken every day to reduce or prevent headaches or taken at the onset of a headache to prevent it from getting worse. 

To treat such headaches, the doctor may recommend: 

  • Over the counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB).
  • Triptans like Sumatriptan (Imitrex, Tosymra, others), rizatriptan (Maxalt), almotriptan, naratriptan (Amerge), zolmitriptan (Zomig), Frovatriptan (Frova) and eletriptan (Relpax) and are available as tablets, nasal sprays, or injections.
  • Ergots include Ergotamine and caffeine combination drugs (Migergot, Cafergot). Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) is an ergot derivative and is effective than ergots. 
  • Anti-nausea drugs like chlorpromazine, metoclopramide (Reglan), or prochlorperazine (Compazine).
  • Glucocorticoids (Dexamethasone).
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